VIDEO: Ex-England star praises Bury’s 7s festival

Andy Goode spoke to the Bury Free Press’ sports editor Russell Claydon at Sunday’s Greene King IPA Premier Rugby 7s Tournament about what he made of it and how sevens’ appearance at the Olympics this summer can have the same impact on rugby as Twenty/20 has had on cricket.

The Aviva Premiership’s record points scorer was Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club’s star guest at the Haberden yesterday, spending the afternoon signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans of all ages, as well as presenting the trophies.

Goode, who played 16 times for England as well as spells with Leicester Tigers, Saracens, Worcester Warriors and Wasps, followed in the footsteps of previous ‘rugby heroes’ at the event including Billy Vinupola, Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes and Chris Ashton.

On the eve of the tournament it was announced the player who came out of retirement this season to help lead Newcastle Falcons to Premiership safety in a three-month spell, has been shortlisted for the Rugby Players’ Association Player of The Year award, despite playing only 344 minutes (four starts and three sub appearances) in the Premiership this season.

A record 3,000 people are thought to have passed through the gates at the Haberden this year, the tournament’s eight running, as the recent heatwave continued, with chairman Mike Robinson hailing it ‘the best yet’.

Samurai Barcudas came out on top in a topsy-turvy final with Samurai International in a dramatic last-minute try in the main elite competition, with England and Ireland development sides not making the final two, while two-times winners Northampton Saints were beaten in the quarter-finals along with Bury Barbarians, the host club’s representative side.

Bury St Edmunds Ladies carried off a prize on the day though, winning the Women’s Plate.

* For a full special round-up of the day, see Friday’s Bury Free Press print edition.